Defenders of Wildlife Offers Reward for Information About Grizzly Bear Killer

(05/16/2000) - Responding to reports that three threatened grizzly bears had been shot and killed in Montana, Defenders of Wildlife today announced that it would offer $1,500 from its Imperiled Predator Reward Fund for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible person(s). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering $1,000 for similar information, bringing the total reward money to $2,500.

The three bears were found on May 5 on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwest Montana. One of the bears, a 14- year-old female, had been part of a monitoring study for 12 years, during which time she had never been a threat to humans. Her two cubs, one male and one female, were found dead beside her in a clearing.

“The greatest threat to grizzly recovery is people killing them," said Defenders of Wildlife president Rodger Schlickeisen. “We want to make it very clear that killing grizzly bears is illegal and will not be tolerated. We hope that our reward offer helps to bring the person or persons responsible for this tragedy to justice."

Schlickeisen pointed out that because of the low reproduction rate for grizzly bears, among other factors, losing three bears is a tremendous blow to the grizzly population in the region. Females do not breed until they are four or five years old and they usually have only one or two cubs every other year. Because grizzlies reproduce so slowly, the loss of an adult female is especially significant to the viability of that population.

“According to tribal officials, the illegal killing of grizzlies has been increasing on the Blackfeet reservation and has reached worrisome proportions," said Schlickeisen. “We will not allow the illegal actions of a few to derail the recovery process."

Killing a grizzly bear is a violation of federal law and can carry a penalty of up to $10,000 and six months in prison. In addition, killing grizzly bears is also a violation of tribal law and is subject to tribal penalties.

Anyone having any information regarding this incident should contact the Blackfeet Fish and Wildlife Department at 406- 338-2430.

Defenders of Wildlife maintains its Grizzly Compensation Trust to compensate ranchers, at fair market value, for the rare occasions when grizzly bears do kill livestock.

Defenders of Wildlife, founded in 1947, is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of native wild animals and plants in their natural communities.



Cat Lazaroff, (202) 772-3270